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  1. Environment

17 feet long! Biggest female python ever captured in the Everglades' Big Cypress, researchers say

A team of hunters with the Big Cypress National Preserve captured a record-setting female python that was over 17 feet long, weighed 140 pounds, and contained 73 developing eggs. The group posted the image to its Facebook account on April 4. (Big Cypress National Preserve Facebook)
Published Apr. 6

A team of four researchers stood apart from one another, arms outstretched, clutching a giant python, and it takes a wide-angle lens just to capture the length of the beast they found in Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida's Everglades.

The group posted the image to the Big Cypress Facebook page Friday and are calling the catch a record.

The female python was over 17 feet long, weighed 140 pounds, and contained 73 developing eggs. That would make her longer, end-to-end, than a one-story building or a five-meter diving platform.

Related: Florida's most invasive species

"She is the largest python ever removed from Big Cypress National Preserve — and she was caught because of research and a new approach to finding pythons," the environmental group said.

The researchers caught this behemoth by using male pythons equipped with radio transmitters, which, they say, "allows the team to track the male to locate breeding females."

The goal is to remove the invasive snakes and to also collect data for research that will help Big Cypress develop new removal tools and learn the pythons' habits.

"All of the python work at Big Cypress is focused on controlling this invasive species, which poses significant threats to native wildlife," the group said on its Facebook post.

In December 2017, Florida snake hunters made a then-record setting catch in the Everglades when python hunter Jason Leon captured a 17-foot Burmese python at Big Cypress. The South Florida Water Management District said that female measured 17 feet, 1 inch long and weighed 132 pounds.

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